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Regret minimization framework

I’ve long operated on a simple principle famously put into words by Jeff Bezos – regret minimization.

His story about deciding to start Amazon was similar to my decision to quit my (great) job at Booz Allen Hamilton to work on my personal finance blog, Bargaineering. The thought of quitting a stable job, where I had a security clearance, to work on a “blog” seemed incredibly risky and reckless. I can’t imagine what my friends thought of my choice.

But it was about regret minimization. I would know very quickly, within a few years, if the blogging thing was for me and whether I could succeed in it. Plus, I could always go back. Turns out, at least so far, I’ve made the right decisions.

I asked hundreds of people about their biggest life decisions. Here’s what I learned [The Conversation] – “You make decisions all the time. Most are small. However, some are really big: they have ramifications for years or even decades. In your final moments, you might well think back on these decisions — and some you may regret.”

That article introduced me to the book by Bronnie Ware (which I have yet to read, I only discovered it last week) but this Guardian article goes into greater detail on the five regrets:

Top five regrets of the dying [The Guardian] – “A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?”

5 Regrets Of The Dying And Why Financial Freedom Is The Answer [Financial Freedom Countdown] – “This was the most common regret when people realize that their life is almost over and look back to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. If you are stuck in the hamster wheel of earning, spending, earning, spending; you will soon realize that you need to keep on working for a very long period of time.”

It’s not easy to read but something everyone should.